Inspection: Deck that collapsed built with unsuitable wood


PORT SHELDON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — An inspection has found that a deck at an Ottawa County venue was built with unsuitable material, causing it to collapse under a group of people earlier this month.

The collapse happened on June 15 at the Weaver House at Pine Bend Park in Port Sheldon Township, north of Holland. Between 20 to 30 people were on the deck at the time. Two people were hospitalized and 12 more treated on scene.

>>PHOTOS: Weaver House deck collapse 

The inspection found the structural beams of the deck were made with laminated veneer lumber, which is not designed for outdoor use. This is because LVL wood doesn’t absorb the chemicals used in the pressure treatment process that is used to make wood appropriate for outdoor use.

Inspectors found that the joint LVL beam broke at one of the treated posts causing the 12-year-old deck to collapse. The inspection of the interior of the LVL beams found significant rotting. However, the chemically-treated lumber was structurally sound.

The Ottawa County Parks Department says it doesn’t generally use LVL beams in the construction of outdoor decks, but it was unique to the Weaver House deck’s design.

The department’s director, James Sholtz says Jim Winter-Troutwine Associates is the architectural firm that designed the deck. He puts the blame on the firm for choosing the LVL wood.

The house remains open, but the deck will be closed until it can be rebuilt without the use of LVL beams.

The Weaver House is a home that was built in 1901, has been renovated and can now be rented out for events. The deck that collapsed was built in 2005.

–24 Hour News 8’s Heather Walker contributed to this story.